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US Attorney Anderson: I do not have Covid-19 symptoms

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SHAWN N. Anderson, the U.S. attorney for the Districts of Guam and the NMI, on Tuesday said there is no legal or medical reason to quarantine the entire U.S. Attorney’s Office staff.

Shawn N. Anderson

“No USAO employee has had personal contact with me since my return to Guam,” Anderson added in a statement to the media.

“Again, I did not travel to a Centers for Disease Control high-risk country and do not have symptoms of Covid-19.”

In addition, Anderson said, his office has taken precautionary measures since the outbreak on Guam began.

“We even extended these measures to our Saipan office out of an abundance of caution. Our office, as well as the entire Department of Justice, takes the health of our employees seriously,” he said.

“Most of our employees are now teleworking at diverse locations on island. However, they still need to travel to court and our offices when necessary to fulfill our mission. While the resources of the federal government are currently strained, we will continue to assist law enforcement with investigations and pursue prosecutions in our federal courts. As always, we will prioritize our cases based on our current resources, in addition to the needs of our citizens and any threats to national security,” Anderson said.

The federal courts on Guam and the NMI have issued orders regulating entry to their facilities due to Covid-19.

Anderson said his office will work “within the terms of these orders and continue to work with their justice partners, including defense counsels to ensure that the federal justice system continues to function for the safety and welfare of our communities.”

Guam Gov. Lourdes Leon Guerrero on March 21 wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr calling for the removal of Anderson for challenging a mandatory quarantine for passengers arriving to Guam on Friday.

In her letter, Leon Guerrero reported what she calls unacceptable behavior on the part of Anderson.

She said Anderson “could not comprehend the severity of the executive order she implemented for arriving passengers to prevent further spread of Covid-19” on Guam.

“His decision to challenge my executive orders created an atmosphere of noncompliance and threatens our local government’s ability to respond to this public health emergency,” the governor said.

“Let me be clear. I did not bend to his title when I asked my public health nurses and customs officers to let Anderson through. I did so to protect Mr. Anderson from the dangers he would face being imprisoned alongside those that his office has caused to be detained,” the governor added.

On Monday, in response to the Guam governor’s letter, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said upon his arrival on Guam, Anderson “voluntarily disclosed his travel history and lack of Covid-19 symptoms. He was then presented with a purported contract to voluntarily self-quarantine at home. He declined to sign the document and informed all present that he also needed to work at his office. The governor, through her counsel, agreed that this was acceptable.”

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